Permit me to just briefly touch on the circumstances that prevail with each case whilst thanking the persons who responded to taking them into their homes (in the case of those who were fortunate) and that audio post (see top of blog a soundcloud embedded link) where I asked if persons would do same? One brother lost his job and fell on hard times as his home on the other end of the island where he resided was destroyed by fire earlier this year he has been struggling ever since to recoup his losses and find employment. Thankfully he has been given a short stay at a friend's house in Kingston while he actively seeks employment, we only hope he doesn't jeopardize that kindness as we have seen in previous cases with other brothers who land in the same predicament. He had made contact with the J on the issue but has not received any positive word on any interventions yet. A special thanks to the member of the Underlined Response who also provided some temporary shelter as he was limited so to do but the young man was grateful just the same as he was bale to rest and at least temporarily ease his mind.
Brother number two also has lost his job but has not been so lucky in getting a short stay at best as he has been bouncing here and there in the public domain. He too also has been having some difficulty securing a steady income and a roof since he had to leave the last place he rented among other things, these circumstances also are echoed in the case of the third person from this post. Both men are struggling but some of us who are concerned are limited or restricted and either do not have the accommodation to temporarily assist or are too scared to do so after being bitten with bad experiences before in the name of assistance. The former is my reason as I have moved from my old address in Kingston where I have helped persons before by providing overnight stays and a shower and so on where I could, unfortunately the landlord wanted the place for his family or so he said at the time.
Many of the other youngings from the older population of homeless persons (some from as far back as 2009) who were involved in that infamous civil disobedience actions against the Jamaica AIDS Support and JFLAG have been getting by but just that and with the position of the Crisis Intervention Officer to be made vacant soon as she is said to be leaving for Amsterdam under what some say is the regular use of the underground railroad system to seek asylum there maybe further ignoring or aloofness by JFLAG towards the men. New kid on the block the Underlined Response has been trying with a short term tin drive for canned items and clothing etc plus some fund raising from their recent Pride Fest event but that is far cry from what is really needed, some of us do contribute money where possible. We need some sort of transitional housing interventions going. Again we have to bring to book the stewardship of the two aforementioned agencies that are the oldest in terms of formal outreach setups for same gender loving people yet as the oldest they have not been setting a proper example in this regard and towards this population when we knew from as early as 2007/8 of the increasing numbers of men who have sex with men tittering from displacement to homelessness and back again, especially from that private party DVD that went public. After 13 years in existence being formed out of JASL in December 1998 JFLAG was set up to not only deal with the buggery law and other legal matters with a hotline that has been defunct for more than ten years but also the frontline services that its parent could not do as it primary focus was HIV/AIDS in the mainstream but not limited to that. Bear in mind that Jamaica AIDS Support for Life JASL was founded mostly by gay men in the heyday of the AIDS epidemic in 1991, seven years later came JFLAG out of GLABCOM (Gay Lesbian Bisexual Community) which was an interface activity for Jamaica AIDS Support for Life's targeted interventions strategy but with no real advocacy autonomy at the time to act as it was purely centered around HIV issues but the other problems were encroaching hence the other J's formation.
If this is all we have to show from our once highly respected, trusted and vigilant advocacy structures after so many years then we are going nowhere it seems, are they suffering from burn out? but we need to do our own bit in our various quarters and build if ever so slowly, we cannot continue in this modern day and age with no radical front-line support services inclusive of psycho social interventions chief among them a resident social worker and psychologists to guide these men to the road to recovery.
Other suggestions from y standpoint include:
- Help out where you can
- Tell someone who you think that can assist
- Talk to someone who falls in this category, sometimes a kind word does wonders
- Contact new movements such as the Underlined Response firstname.lastname@example.org
- Make contact here via email@example.com
- Start a donations drive or donate where possible to reputable persons and the UR
- Donate via the Paypal buttons on this blog or on Gay Jamaica Watch
We are going to have to start dealing with these issues ourselves as clearly the representatives are not interested in helping lives interrupted.
Peace and tolerance